All Hail the Cabs: NYC Taxis 101

After you get to know the city on your City Sights double decker tour, you might feel comfortable enough to take a good ol’ New York City taxi cab! Here are some tips as you try and hail your taxi:

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The taxis aren’t stopping for me and my arm is starting to cramp!

You’re on 6th Avenue and there are tons of taxi cabs driving by but no one is stopping. Well, not every taxi is on duty or may have passengers already. There is an easy way to distinguish when your arm should be up and when it shouldn’t to prevent further cramping. On top of each cab is a mix of numbers and letters, if these numbers are lit up, then throw your hands up like you just don’t care, and if they are not, well put your hands in your pockets and play it cool until the next cab rolls along.

 

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My taxi driver doesn’t know where 230-41 West 24th Street is!

Know the cross streets you need to be dropped off at because an exact address isn’t always going to do. This will save you cab fare as well as a long tour across 24th street until you get to your destination. Your cab driver will appreciate the 10 second you took to plug the address into your iPhone and give him an address he can more easily maneuver to. To 24th Street and 9th Avenue we go!

 

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Most offices let our around 5pm during the work week – get off the streets, off the road, just hide.

Most impossible time to get a cab? Around 5:00 pm on a weekday, not only because those big buildings are full of people being let out of work but this is also around the time that cab shifts change. Not only will it take you about 20 minutes to get a cab (if you’re lucky) but be prepared to empty your wallet on cab fare because of gridlock traffic. Leave an hour before or after this time to make sure you can get where you are going. Same goes for when it’s raining, good luck to you and may the force be on your side.

 

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When a black car pulls next to you and tells you to get in.

This is not a secret spy mission that you have been selected to be a recruit, this is a car-for-hire, also known as “gypsy cabs”. The thing about “gypsy cabs” is half of them are legitimate, the other half aren’t and it’s not always the easiest to tell which it is. There are no credit cards accepted and the fare can basically be whatever they want it to be. It’s easier to just stay away from these but if you do find yourself in a situation where there is no other choice but to risk your life and get into one, make sure you agree on the fare before you get in.

Happy hailing!

Made in NY: Coffee

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When you think coffee, you probably don’t think New York. The thing is, NYC has some of the best coffee shops with incredible locally sourced and roasted blends delicious enough to make your head spin in euphoria. Here are three of the best, NY style coffee shops:

Gorilla Coffee (Brooklyn)

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Image Via Gorilla Coffee website

In 2002, Gorilla Coffee came to Brooklyn with one goal in mind: Bringing great coffee to NYC. Since day one, they have done all of their roasting in-store providing that authentic NYC taste.

Mud Trucks

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Image Via Mudshop website

The Mud coffee trucks are the champion of street coffee in NYC. Their three delightful locally sourced blends offer a variety that you won’t find anywhere else on the street. And what’s more New York than coffee from a truck?

Jacks Stir Brew

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Image Via Jack Stir Brew website

Jack’s Stir Brew now has four locations in Manhattan and one in the Hamptons, providing fair trade, organic coffee. Lines for this cup go out the door, and rightfully so.

Free Things for the Kids to do This Summer in NYC

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Make your kids day and take them out to see what New York City has to offer for free this summer! No need to take out your wallet, we came up with a few activities that will be entertaining and fun for the whole family.

Fun in the Water

Typical but still exciting! We all know it’s too hot to not make any plans to head the pool this summer. This weekend why not hop-off at Brooklyn Bridge Park, John Jay Park, or Lasker Pool on 110th and Lenox Ave. Just remember to bring a combination lock for your belongings.

Get Creative!

Try something new and take the kids to Ancient Playground, it’s Egyptian-style with stone pyramids, tunnels, sandbox, and water features great for the heat. Catch-and-Release Fishing is fun too, and the best part is all of this is free when you hop-off in Central Park.

Expand their imagination and go to Kids Create! This is another free activity that will be exciting on weekends at Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Sweet Music to the Ears

If you want to keep the kids entertained all summer long take them to the music festivals and concerts this year. Pick any Wednesday in July through August, and check out the Music in the Grove at Fort Greene Park. For even more excitement, hop-off with the kids at our flatiron stop for Madison Square Kids Summer Concert Series. Just remember to bring the blanket to sit on, and get ready to dance and sing-a-along!

Where do you plan on taking the kids in NYC before the summer is over?

Photo Credit: Flickr / juhansonin

Summer Fun: How to Enjoy the Waterfront

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Although the city life is exciting for all of us, this summer it would be nice to explore all of what New York City has to offer. Imagine a typical hot day with your friends feeling a natural breeze by the waterfront while enjoying food, yes, in New York!  While some areas in NYC are overcrowded because of their popular names, check out some waterfront parks to walk, chew and chat, kayak, and even watch sunsets this summer.

Believe it or not, even New Yorkers are unfamiliar with these getaways. Right in Battery Park City, head towards the World Financial Center where you will see the waterfront facing New York Harbor. Not only can you choose from a number of outdoor restaurants and food trucks, but right inside you can catch musical, dance, visual art, film, and theater performances in Brookfield Plaza inside the World Financial Center.  Grab a taco or hotdog and walk along the harbor while watching a stunning view of Ellis Island and The Statue of Liberty.

Or if you’re in Brooklyn, The East River State Park is another great waterfront park right in the neighborhood of Williamsburg. No, to answer your question, it’s not just an amazing view of Manhattan skyline; I’ve seen some people come here to fly kites, picnic with friends and family, too. What’s better than being able to read a good book and take in the expansive waterfront views?  After you leave the park, check out the Brooklyn Flea next door and shop at hundreds of vendors of vintage clothing, antique furniture, and let’s not forget delicious, fresh food!

Tell us some of the waterfront parks that you plan on going to this summer.

ING New York City Marathon: Tour Route Changes

With the ING New York City Marathon taking place on Sunday, November 6th, the city is quickly transforming into an athlete’s wonderland.

The finish line bleachers and inspiring posters have popped up all over the city!

With over 45,000 incredible runners taking over the streets of New York that Sunday, our double-decker tour buses will have a few route adjustments.


CitySights NY Route Updates for Sunday, November 6th:

UPTOWN TOUR:

  • Start 47th & 8th Ave
  • Continue up 8th Ave to 57th St.
  • Left on 57th St. to 10th Ave
  • Right on 10th Ave to 72nd St.
  • Right on 72nd  then regular route to Apollo Theater/125th St
  • Then make right on Adam Clayton Powell Jr to 110th to Columbus Ave.
  • Left on Columbus Ave to 9th Ave
  • Continue on 9th Ave to 42nd St
  • Left on 42nd St. to 8th Ave to 47th St

DOWNTOWN TOUR:

  • Start on 47th and 7th Ave
  • Regular route until Rockefeller then continue on 49thto 6th Ave
  • Right on 6th Ave to 57th St
  • Left on 57th ST. to 7th Ave
  • Left on 7th Ave to Times Square

If we have any last minute route updates, we will post them to our Official Facebook Page.

50 Cent Street King Bus in Times Square

September 14, 2011, 50 Cent rolled into Times Square on his own double-decker tour bus… The Street King Bus!

50 Cent announced to his fans Wednesday afternoon on Twitter that he’d be in Times Square in 30 minutes and sure enough, he was!

From the top-deck of the bus, 50 Cent promoted his new Energy Drink, Street King. All of the proceeds from his new drink go directly towards ending poverty and hunger in Africa.

His goal is to feed 1 Billion People in Africa. Pretty amazing, right?

You can learn more about his initiative here.

Music blasted from the top of the bus as it turned the corner towards Times Square and crowds quickly gathered when they learned that 50 Cent was on board.

The Street King Street Team, Models and 50 Cent himself passed out free samples of his new energy drink, t-shirts and hats to the excited fans below.

 

Click here to view more pictures from the event on our Facebook Album.

Our Favorite Things To Do in Central Park

Sometimes you just need to hop-off the bus and stretch your legs.

Whether you’re on the Uptown Treasures & Harlem Tour or the Downtown Tour, Central Park is never more than a few blocks away.

Yup, we’re a little obsessed with it. 🙂

Here are a few of our favorite places to explore in Central Park:

Hop-off and walk the gravel track around the Jacqueline Onassis Reservoir,

Strike a pose in front of Bethesda Fountain which has been featured on Home Alone, Enchanted & many other films.

And then walk up Museum Mile to check out one of New York’s amazing museums:

What’s your favorite area in Central Park?